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July 2009

The Ice Bear Project

One more brief hiatus from my hiatus to pass on some very good news: The Ice Bear Project -- created by sculptor Mark Coreth, assisted by my friends and village neighbors Nick Baker and William-Todd Jones (and a host of other good people) -- has received the endorsement and sponsorship of the prestigious World Wildlife Fund.

Here is a brief description of the project: "Mark Coreth is creating a life-sized sculpture of a polar bear out of ice for London's Trafalgar Square this December, and then for major cities across four continents. As each Ice Bear melts it will leave a skeleton, a pool of water and a powerful environmental message about climate change. The Bear will be exhibited at ground level, so that everyone can reach out and touch this inspirational and iconic symbol of the Arctic."

For more information, visit the project's website, or watch the short video above. They're still in need of more donations, sponsors, and host cities in order to spread the project as widely as possible. Become a Friend of the Ice Bear by donating here. No amount is too small. Please spread the word!



...On the subject of animals, briefly, before I go back offline to confront my Impending Deadline: I've just received the beautiful picture on the left below, which is Charles Vess' enchanting cover illlustration for The Beastly Bride -- volume 4 in the "mythic fiction" anthology series (for young adult readers) that I edit with Ellen Datlow for Viking. The picture on the right is "The Heron Girl" by my neighbor Danielle Barlow, whose charming blog about country life and art, Notes from the Rookery, I recommend. And just to tie this whole post together, the young girl who posed for Danielle's painting is William Todd-Jones' youngest daughter.



A brief hiatus from my hiatus...

Morris Dancers 1

Okay, okay, I know I'm not supposed to be posting until I've met my deadline, but I just can't resist sneaking this one in. I'm at work in my office/studio, which is above the shops in the center of my village...and Morris dancers have suddenly appeared in the street below my window. (Having no camera at hand, I used the camera mounted in my laptop to snap these pictures.) As a truck driver's kid from Pennsylvania & New Jersey, I never lose my sense of wonder at having ended up in such a magical place as Dartmoor. Accordion and fiddle music floats into the studio, and I'm thinking: Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

Morris Dancers 2
Morris Dancers 3  

If, by the way, you think that Morris dancing is irredeemably twee, check out "Border Morris" troupes, like Dartmoor's own Beltane Border Morris company. (They're straight out of a Charles de Lint novel.)

"Women are goddesses..."


The words above come from Tori Amos' husband, quoted in her article for the Guardian series What I Know About Men (with thanks to The Fbomb for the link).  The article is interesting not only for Tori's observations on the subject of men and power, but for the glimpse it gives of a healing and supportive marriage.

Speaking of which, I also recommend Aaron Traister's article "It's hot! It's sexy! It's...marriage!", posted over on this week. Traister is the brother of Salon columnist Rebecca Traister, whose work I have long admired.

The picture above was created for the 2008 Tori Amos calendar, a fund-raiser for RAINN.

More summer events here in Devon...

My friends Annabel Allison and Ceri Baker just made this little video for Casitas (a band of awesomely talented young local lads), shot down at the recycling centre just outside our village.
If you're in southwest England, come support Casitas at Chagstock this weekend -- where you can also see The Squeeze (still around after all these years) and the divine Seth Lakeman.

'Busy getting ready for Open Studio tomorrow...


More info (and maps for the Open Studios Art Trail) are available from the Chagford Arts Festival box office in the village square.

If you're here for the weekend, be sure not to miss the showing of "Cherry of Zennor: A Cornish Fairy Tale" by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry and the Chagford Filmmaking Group. Established by Elizabeth-Jane (who is a professional harpist in her other life), the CFG is dedicated to filming the magical folk tales of the British Isles, while involving as many local kids as possible in the film-making process. The film is on at 10:40 Sunday morning at the Jubilee Hall -- but come at 10:30 and catch the premier of "Heist," a short film by two young Chagford animators, Diggery North and Freddie Crowley.

Also of interest: A rare showing of the silent film "Sunrise," a 1927 cinematic masterpiece, with an introduction and live harp music soundtrack by Elizabeth-Jane. That's on at the Jubilee Hall at 7:00 on Saturday night.

The road to the Border...


I'm in a bit of a rush today, so all I have time to say is that there's Borderland news, and you can learn more by popping over to Ellen Kushner's LiveJournal page and to Holly Black's LJ page.

The drawings above are by Iain McCaig, by the way. And for a bit more Border magic in your day, check out this lovely tune, "The Bordertown Waltz," by Bordertown reader Gina Donahue.

(Don't know what the heck Borderland is? Go here.)